Why Was the Great Wall of China Built?

The Great Wall of China near Beijing.
The Great Wall of China near Beijing.

Stretching about 13,170 miles from east to west, the Great Wall of China is one of the greatest wonders of the world. The wall which stretches up and down across plateaus, grasslands, deserts, and mountains was listed in 1987 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Great Wall comprises of many walls some of them running parallel to each other. The Great Wall has a history of over 2,000 years, but some of its sections have either disappeared or are now in ruins. Nonetheless, China’s Great Wall remains one of the fascinating attractions in the world due to its historical significance and architectural magnificence.

History of the Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China was constructed over a long period and not all at once. Between the 6th and 7th centuries BC, there were frequent wars that were fought between different warring States dynasty and the Spring-Autumn states. The walls and towers were constructed along the borders to serve in self-defense. The state of Chu was the first to build the wall. During the reign of the Qin dynasty, different parts of the empire were united into one. For the empire to protect itself from invaders from the North, Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered for all the walls that had been built to be connected thus becoming the Great Wall of China. Ever since the wall has not only been reconstructed and modified but also extended throughout the history of the republic. For more than 2,000 years, millions of the Chinese people have helped remodify and rebuild the wall. The main aim of constructing the wall was to always defend the empire from invaders such as the Mongols among others. A huge portion of China’s Great Wall was constructed during the Ming Dynasty somewhere between the years of 1368 and 1644.

The Reasons Behind the Construction of the Great Wall of China

The wall was constructed to protect China from its enemies and the northern invaders most likely the Mongols who were a tribal group that carried out raids in the region. Although the wall was constructed, the region was still conquered by the Mongols eventually. The Great Wall was also used for keeping the Chinese citizens from leaving the country. Historically, China is not the only country to build a wall along its borders, other countries including Korea, the Roman Empire, Athens, and Denmark built walls. All these walls were built to defend their territories. However, the Chinese’s Great Wall was perhaps the extreme project for military defense in history, and it also guaranteed the peace and stability of agriculture to the ancient society.

Who built the Great Wall of China?

For more than 2,000 years the wall served as a powerful means of protection in the history of China following battles between nomadic and agricultural economies. The Great Wall protected both the cultural progress and economic development through safe guarding trading routes such as the Silk Road and securing transportation together with the transmission of information. Millions of people constructed the Great Wall of China over time. The labor force that worked on the wall comprised of war prisoners, slaves, workers, soldiers, convicts, and peasants who had been recruited forcefully. It is believed the Emperor Qin Shu Huang ordered about one million people to join the construction of the Great Wall. According to the Qin Dynasty laws, prisoners were required to work on the wall for four years. It is also believed that many people died while building the wall either out of fatigue or starvation.


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